My morning did not start the way I was hoping for. I was warm and very cozy in my nest of heavy blankets, when I was awoken and brought suddenly into a very cold Monday morning. Checking in with my online weather source revealed a brisk 6C, and a thick "almost" frost on the ground. The smell in the air outside was reminiscent of early fall mornings, when I'd normally be packing up the show goats to head to a fall fair somewhere in the province. I really miss going to fairs, as they've been a part of my life since childhood, and then in recent years with my show string or education herd. The absence of these fairs is felt deeply in the farming community as the fairs a lot of farm families attend for competitions, actually earn a portion of the income used to sustain that family and farm annually. Many farm families depend on the exposure competing at fairs brings, especially if lucky enough to win a Championship. Awards, prize money, breeding deals and a lot of other business is done each year at these fairs. Autumn 2020 will not be the same without this fall fair tradition. Foley, Bracebridge, Huntsville, and the Rosseau Pumpkin Festival I will miss most of all this year. Good-bye summer, it was nice seeing for a short while. A friend recently visited me and she joked that summer packed her bags and never even said good-bye when she left. I think that was pretty bang on with how it feels these days. There is a lot of red on the trees and before long it will be the full splendor of the fall colours. I wouldn't mind if it stayed warmer awhile longer though. This is one of the shortest summers I can remember, considering the last snow fall we had here was the first week of June, and it is now only September. I pray that the snow does not come as early as the signs show this year.
My last farm update was a few weeks ago, and as I think back it is incredible how much has actually happened. Week after week, 2020 sure knows how to keep everyone on their toes! I don't know about you, but I always seem to feel like I am running to catch up these days, like I'm just a little behind pace so don't ever seem to stop. One of the biggest stressors has been trying to get our hay in this summer. We've had mixed results and limited success due to various factors. We did manage to get ALL of the equipment fixed and operational, but mother nature had other plans and has produced a very wet couple of weeks creating additional challenges. There is some good news though! We had a recent group of days with good weather and with the help of a group of willing(ish) and ready volunteers, we got some hay in. Thanks to Farmer Fred for operating the equipment, and to Daniel, Erik, Bailey, Shauna and her dear Dad Joe, we managed to put 735 small square bales in the barn in one night! That felt like a monumental success after all the trouble we have had getting started. Even though summer is pretty much over, I do still have some fields that we will cut if we get the chance. In case there is another hay shortage this winter, I don't want to leave what we have in the fields if we can help it. Indian Summer will be upon us soon and another chance to make more hay. There is no doubt that we have to purchase hay this winter to make it through, but the less we have to buy the better off we will be come spring!
Recently I made a post about the passing of a new addition to our herd, Parliament Hill Farms Simon. Due to circumstances and time, I was not able to post much about his last days. Simon very quickly became very popular here not just with our volunteers, but also with our guests. Simon was featured in many a goat selfie captured here during his short few months with us. I find it incredible how easily we can fall in love with an animal. When compared to people, these relationships are much simpler in that these animal friends do not judge us, nor do they want anything from us. Love that unconditional is a gift and needs to felt by everyone. I have learned a lot about life and love from animals. The way they respect each others differences, and deal with things in the moment as they come is truly something we can all learn from. Although Simon was not the only herd member we have recently said good-bye to, he has left a very large void in the barn for many on my team. When Bonnie passed, it was much different as we were anticipating it due to her advanced age and health. Simon was only 3 years old and otherwise seemed to be in perfect health. His passing has me extra hyper vigilant again, and has caused a lot of my volunteers to intensely watch all of the male goats pee with increased interest. The learning never ends in life and that is especially true if you choose to share it with animals. I am grateful for all of my animal teachers. Simon showed me he was very special shortly after arriving here, and my heart is sad that we don't get to continue on this journey together. He holds a very special place here at the farm for eternity now ❤
On a much happier and lighter note, did you know that we have recently added chickens to the farm? What started out as three has now grown to 15 laying hens! This is my first real foray into raising poultry and I am loving all the new things to learn about them. Our flock now consists of 2 Rhode Island Reds (Peckahontas and Henny Penny), a Plymouth Rock (Henrietta), 6 Bielefelders ( Attila the Hen, Bok Bok Choy, Helen, Lizzie, 2 remain unnamed), and 6 Black Copper Marans ( Eggelyn, Karhen, 4 remain unnamed). We've had a great deal of fun in throwing out chicken name suggestions in the barn with all of the volunteers. Although we still have 6 hens left to decide names on, the choice is far from easy! We have some pretty amazing imaginations on our team! Current names being considered include (but not limited to) Green Eggs and Hen, Darth Layer, Princess Layia, Dixie Chick, Cluck Norris, Layde Godiva, Kylo Hen, Henneth Paltrow and quite a few others. Who knew that naming chickens would be so much fun? Spending time socializing these new additions has been really neat as each breed is very different from the others. The Bielefelders are my favourite. They perch on us like birds of prey and act very primitive in the way they move around the yard - even hunting together! Those 6 are more like dinosaurs than the other chickens by far and super fascinating to observe. The Bielfelders and Black Copper Marans are impossible to tell apart, so we solved the issue by putting coloured zip ties on their left legs so we can differentiate them from each other and choose names. If you have some great chicken name suggestions please send them my way! Most of our hens are not laying yet as they are still very young, but this is the reason I decided to add chickens to the barn. It's hard to beat the farm fresh eggs we get from Henrietta, Peckahontas and Henny Penny each day! Can't wait for the variety in our eggs when the others start laying in a few months. Especially the chocolate coloured eggs of the black copper marans!
One of the personal goals I set for myself early this year was to bring in, allow and especially to learn to take time for myself - some self love. I haven't done so good with it yet, but I am definitely trying. Some days I am so busy juggling farm, business and family demands that the self love I give myself is to spend as many hours as I can outdoors. That has included moving my computer out to my deck anytime the weather allows, which is where I am currently writing from. The further I have delved into my shamanic studies, the less tolerant I have become of being indoors. I find myself needing the constant grounding effects of the sights, smells and sounds of nature. The wind in the trees soothes my anxiety during the day and the song of the crickets lulls me into relaxation so I can sleep at night. Even when it is raining, I can usually find a way to stay outside, or in the barn. I have enjoyed almost every meal outdoors since the spring and I know that soon the cold will drive me inside more often then not. I have observed every sunrise, rainbow, sunset and countless shooting stars during this insane year, and savoured each one of them for the magic moments in time that they were. I have been open to receiving the messages in the signs around me and have found profound comfort them. Heron, Turkey, Squirrel, Bear, Hawk, Frog, Dragonfly, Fox, Groundhog, Hummingbird, Bat, Owl, Caterpillar, Deer, Snake, Raven, Turkey Vulture, and many other guides have shared their wisdom with me. Each lesson came to me at the exact time it was needed and has helped me to stay focused on how the farm can sustain during these times. It hasn't all been work and study though. I have taken some hours here and there to go out and explore a little either on foot or by kayak. Next is to get consistent with a plan to get away for a couple of days a month. My goal is to make this a recurring event... in time. It's got to be a good thing to get away right? I'll keep telling myself that anyways 😉
Speaking of getting away, this would never be possible without my amazing team of volunteers! Let me take a few moments to personally acknowledge and thank each and everyone of you, my incredible team ❤ When COVID forced me to shut my doors, at a time when I should have been celebrating my success, my entire world came crashing down. My son Daniel, my rock, as always was by my side helping me to stay afloat and sane. My ex Erik, who remains to this day a dedicated volunteer, was here to help when and where he could. When I found a way to reach out to the community during the lockdown by visiting with seniors at their windows, it was with the help of volunteers that we made it happen. It was my volunteers that came, with all the restrictions, to help continue to bring love to the herd when they became sad and depressed when they were cut off from the people they were used to hosting, during the lockdown. My volunteers continued to come and help out where they could and it helped to ensure the farm stayed pristine for when we could reopen. During those first few weeks of Phase 1, it was through the faith and encouragement of my volunteers that I found a way through all the hurdles of staying open. I could seriously go on for a very, very long time in gratitude here, but the bottom line is this. Without my volunteers, this past summer would never have been possible. Everything from taking photos and social media assistance, to helping to facilitate programs, assistance with herd health and management, organization of the facilities, and even being guinea pigs for my soon to launch new workshops, and sounding boards for oh so many crazy ideas I have. Even for allowing me to get away for a weekend. For this there will never be enough words to say thanks to you all. From the oldest to the youngest, you've all earned a very special place in my heart and I know the herd loves you all dearly. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you ♥ To Shauna, girl, your dedication to this herd, and your passion to learn is exemplary. You should be incredibly proud of yourself for all the experience you gained and accomplished this summer. To those who don't know her, this incredible young lady was supposed to be hired on full time to work for me this summer, but under the circumstances I was unable to hire her. Shauna stepped up and became a FULL TIME VOLUNTEER for the summer! She worked hard and went above and beyond each and every day she was here. What I wouldn't give to have you here still! Sadly for us all, Shauna is back off to school to continue on her path towards becoming a vet one day. Keep your eyes on this bright young star. She's destined for a great future! Our door is always open and hopeful for your return ❤ Stay safe honey.
OK friends, I need to sign off here for now. Next week will come another blog and more adventures to share!
Until then, please remember to be kind and to always choose love ~ Angee
For as long as I can remember, animals have always been my best friends. This deep bond with animals started very early and grew stronger as I navigated my complicated family life as a child. If not for my childhood, I would not be who I am proud to be today, and for that I am grateful, for what were often painful lessons. There was a short time in my life when I tried to run away from this calling. I tried to deny how animals responded with and around me, and even hid it from my life for several years. We can't hide from who we are, even though we can run from it for awhile. It was inevitable that I would return to my deep inner calling to partner with animals. I have always known that in order to feel grounded I needed to be on a farm, and connected to nature. The pace, flow and lifestyle involved in working with the animals and the land, brings such a deep peace to my soul. I dreamt of creating a place where people could come and interact with a very special group of animals that I hoped to nurture and develop. For many years I worked towards this goal and was gaining slow success. There were MANY immense hurtles along the way but I never gave up and continued to pursue this goal of creating a therapeutic animal farm. It has taken me over 10 years to create my herd of therapy goats. I started by selecting very specific animals for temperament and worked on building a multi-generational herd from there. I am so proud of what has been created through years of hard work, unrelenting determination, incredible learning, a dream and a whole lot of passion. What started as a "what if" question to my late husband has become a herd of animals that have been hand raised from the moment of birth, with very specific handling, training and conditioning. Why would someone want to do that? Well, for the specific goal of allowing an animal connection experience like no other. I knew when I began that it might not work. But what if it did work? I set a goal, I never quit, and I am so very grateful for the adventure it has taken me on.
My journey to Woodfield began in 2014. I was living on my small 2.5 acre property, trying the best I could to create my dream life. With incredibly limited resources and a challenging small property that flooded constantly, life was increasingly difficult. It was only 4 days after my husband passed away that Mike Bradley appeared on my doorstep. All these years later, it still amazes me how he showed up that day, at the worst possible time of my life. This very sociable and interesting man had a wonderful dream of his own. He shared his story and vision for the place he was already working hard to build, only a short 15 minute drive from my place. He invited me to come for a tour of his incredible property, and he shared with me his story, vision and hope that I would join his mission and purpose at Woodfield, by bringing my herd to a farm that he would provide on his property. As crazy as that may all sound, I assure you, this is a true story. I was being handed a "once in a lifetime", golden opportunity to transplant my business/farm/dream to an incredible piece of Muskoka. All that was being asked of me in exchange was to offer my programs and amazing herd to everyone that comes to share the magic of Woodfield. Pretty incredible offer no? Too good to be true? It sure felt that way for the first few years. Here was a total stranger offering me the opportunity of a lifetime, to live and work somewhere incredible. The offer was simple. Come and live on a beautiful 40 acre farm, nestled on the edge of Woodfield, continue to dream and create, and share it with everyone. For the first few years while I worked towards moving here, I did not get much support from my personal circle. Many told me it would never happen and that I was wasting my time. There are some who actually left my life due to what they judged to be poor choices. I won't pretend to say it has been easy, or that the journey hasn't had it's fair share of challenges. There were a couple times when I contemplated not moving here - mostly out of my own fear of failure. What is being created here is far bigger than any one person, and at times I still feel that I don't measure up to the task. I am happy to share though, especially with those who didn't believe or support this journey, that making that leap of faith in 2018 and moving here, was the best decision I have ever made. When energies align, and with the support of such an amazing community as exists here at Woodfield, the dream I envisioned for so long has become the greatest and most amazing reality!
With the new name change of my farm to the Woodfield Sky River Farm, now begins the next leg of this amazing adventure! The challenges that many businesses are facing during this pandemic are also being faced here. The Woodfield True Nature Campus was set to open this past June for the first time, welcoming many families. Once again, the Woodfield team waits to open the doors to the amazing campus that Mike Bradley has created for families to enjoy. This temporary pause does provide another great opportunity to create even more amazing program options. The mission and vision to support children and their families is the reason that we are all here at Woodfield. By working together towards a common goal, we can support, encourage and endlessly inspire each other to continue to build this amazing place where families will come. Through the immense generosity, emotional and spiritual support, financial investments, friendship and unrelenting belief in me, Mike Bradley has and always will be my biggest cheerleader. Through all of the ups and downs of the last six years, Mike has never wavered in his support of me. He has continually believed in me even when I had given up on myself. His ongoing demonstration of amazing acts of kindness and charity will continue to inspire all of the good things I am trying to create with my animal programs. It is truly an honour to have an opportunity such as this to create the life I've always dreamed, while also supporting and being a part of an amazing and beautiful vision that is Woodfield. The best part is that through this "pay it forward" energy, it also allows me to support my local community by donating a large portion of our services to those in need. At the end of each day, I am now in a place in my life where I know I am making a positive difference with each connection the herd makes. I sleep peacefully, because I have truly found my place in the world. <3
Next week's blog, I promise a long overdue update on all things HAY, the end of summer, recent health related herd issues and much much more! Sorry to keep you waiting, however as the days get shorter, the To-Do List on a farm only gets bigger. Preparations for winter become the new priority, and I fear the snow is not that far away this year.
Until next week my friends :)
Hi friends. Once again I am coming to you after having quite the week. It is funny how 2020 is messing with everyone in suck extreme ways. Plans we try to make rarely come through these days as there are constantly new things popping in that need attention immediately. This week I had intended to start telling the story of how I came to be at Woodfield, but sadly that will have to wait for another week.
After weeks of struggling to get all of our hay equipment serviced and running, hay making is finally upon us! In what is likely the very last hay making window of the season, we are finally in the process of getting it done! Thanks to an incredible offer of help from a young farmer that lives close by, the hay is all cut and currently drying in the fields. His equipment cut in 5 hours what would have taken us 5 days! This was an immense help and will hopefully ensure that we get in enough for the winter. There is no greater priority than ensuring the herd has enough food to sustain them through the cold Muskoka winters. For this reason, time is tighter than ever, so this will be a shorter blog post than normal this week as we are all focused on the itchy, rewarding job ahead tomorrow when we bale everything and load up the hayloft. Although I am looking forward to the feeling of security a full barn of hay brings, I am also saddened. Having my hayloft full of hay means that the wonderful goat yoga that has been happening in that space has come to an end for the season. I was hoping for a bit more time, but I take my luck as it comes! We don't need extra winter struggles.
Until next week my friends,
With love ~ Angee
It is with the saddest heart that I share the tragic news of the passing of Simon, a recent addition to our herd. Although Simon was only with us a few short months, in that time he managed to steal the hearts of my entire team, and a great many of our visitors. This special boy was very quickly becoming an integral member of my therapy herd, and he will be greatly missed by us all.
This past Wednesday, Simon began displaying symptoms of a condition called urinary calculi. This is caused by a blockage, usually a urinary stone somewhere in the urethra stopping the flow of urine. Treatment is a drench solution of ammonium chloride to help lower the acidity of their urine in hopes of helping to break down the stones, making them easier to pass. This treatment is very effective and I've had great success in the past with many issues of this nature. This condition can develop in both male and female goats, however it is much more common in the males due to the anatomy of their genitalia. There are occasions when a stone actually becomes lodged in the urethra and then surgical removal is required, as was in Simons case. I am grateful to have had previous experience of a male goat on a friends farm with the same condition, and trusted my instincts and rushed into action Thursday morning, taking him to a vet clinic in Midland to undergo emergency surgery to remove the glans on the end of his penis, and the stone lodged in it. Dr. Shauna O'Brien of the North Simcoe Veterinary Clinic was on her way out on an emergency call when we arrived, and she stayed to work on Simon. I am so grateful to her and her team that did what they could, with the information we had at that time. As a stone was found and Simon was able to pee, we hoped for the best that there were no more stones. I took Simon home to rest and heal.
Through the night, each time I would check in on him, it was apparent that Simon was still struggling. He was unable to maintain his own body temperature, even with the assistance of a heat lamp and coat. Friday morning saw us back on the road to Midland for some more tests and hopefully some answers. This time it was Dr. Rose Rumney of the North Simcoe Veterinary Clinic who was there to assist and run multiple tests and procedures. After an ultrasound, bloodwork, x-rays, a secondary procedure, and many consultations with the OVC in Guelph, it was determined that the surgical options were not going to yield any success, and he would live a reduced quality of life if we proceeded further. His kidneys were damaged and there were no other options to explore. The hard decision was made to lay Simon to rest to end his pain and suffering. Simon lived a very loved life in both of his homes and made a very big impact in his very short life. Many hearts are broken and many will grieve his passing. That is a pretty good legacy for such a sweet boy as Simon was. In the short few months he lived here, he preferred to spend his evenings watching the sunset as opposed to browsing with the rest of the herd. For this reason I chose his final resting place on a small hill where he will forever have the best view of the sunsetting over the farm. Rest in Peace sweet Simon. I am blessed to have known your beautiful soul <3
with love ~ Angee
Hello friends :) What an incredible week it has been! In contrast to last week's state of mind, this week I am on top of my game again. I find the weeks are actually flying by faster as the end of summer nears, but I don't recall a time I was ever THIS busy before either. We have had many visitors coming to enjoy time with the herd. We are seeing more and more families all the time which is amazing. Our message is spreading! This week I have some updates and information to share, as well as a massive announcement to make. For that reason I am just going to jump right into it all and start with the updates.
The most pressing issue on the farm at the moment of course is getting all of the farm equipment serviced, running right, working out the kinks, finding the stuff that's broken and fixing it, AND learning how to operate it all. The great news is that we now are almost 100% ready to go - thanks to the constant efforts of Fred. I can't tell you the number of hours he's spent on all of this, but way more than me, I can assure you. Thanks Fred, you're seriously the best! Now we wait for the weather to cooperate. Waiting for a good weather window without rain, to make hay is nerve wracking. You have to trust the forecasters that are often wrong. The past three days were calling for rain that never came - a window was missed. The weather for the next few days are calling for rain as well, so we continue to wait. I'm staying in contact with my neighbours who are also still cutting hay, so I don't miss another opportunity. This coming weekend looks good and should see us in full swing. If anyone is interested in volunteering to help us bring the hay in off the fields, drop me a line! :) We love willing extra hands to make the job go faster! You'll get plenty of free goat cuddles in exchange <3
For the past many months I have been feeling a strong desire to reach out to support the first responders that are continuing to work tirelessly for us all. These amazing individuals put themselves at risk, each and every day they work to support their communities and have gone above and beyond for all of us during this pandemic. What better way to help support my community, than by helping to support those that support us all? Now that restrictions have eased we are able to accommodate larger groups on site at the farm, we can now start directly supporting these individuals. So, now on Thursday afternoons, from 1-3 pm, we offer free time for First Responders on a first come, first served reservation system. These free First Responder Cuddle Puddles are intended to help restore, ground, uplift and help de-stress. My hope is that it will help to fill their cups, so that they can go back out into the communities they serve, having taken some time for themselves for some much needed love. If you know of a First Responder(s) that could use some extra special goat love, share this link with them. https://www.skyrivermeadows.com/first-responders-cuddle-for-free.html I am offering space for 40 attendees each week to start, but will increase the hours and available spaces if the demand is there. Help spread the word! I am determined to reach as many as we can!
This past Saturday saw the release of GOAT Episode 4, run by the Snow Lake Initiative, which was recently filmed here. This episode featured Belleville performer Jen Cook, of Red Jenny and the Boys. I was delighted to once again watch Jen in action with the SRM herd. Her infectious laugh, amazing energy, positive vibe, and clear goat addiction are so fun! I have a feeling we have not seen the last of Jen at the farm! Be sure to check out her episode below. Who will be next?
Our 2020 babies are 6 weeks old today! Zeus is thriving and continuing to grow exponentially compared to his sister. That also means he will be getting fixed soon as he is quite the little buckling at the moment chasing all the females around and picking fights with all the males. Hera in contrast, is still continuing to struggle and gave us another scare this past weekend. It seems she is highly into eating hair and managed to eat enough to make herself sick. She will likely continue to suffer ups and downs for the next several months, so she is always under a watchful eye. I am so grateful to my team of volunteers who work tirelessly here to help me care for everyone. Extra eyes, hands and brains are making all the difference these days, otherwise I would be missing things and the herd health would start to go downhill. It feels good to have so much support and help here now. I feel very confident in our ability to survive and sustain the next few years that we may all be dealing with CV19. Although we are still unable to take the goats indoors to visit with seniors and others with our Goats on the Go! programs, we have adapted to this new business model that allows for more public access. My followers have seen a lot of changes over the past few weeks to this website and many other things as I redesign SRM to keep us moving forwards. Many more changes are ahead, and this actually leads me right into my big announcement...
For the past 6 years I have been on an incredible journey of personal healing and growth. This literally all began when my husband Geordon passed away suddenly in 2014, and I was facing a brand new chapter in my life. Simultaneous to his death, I met Mike Bradley, a visionary with an incredibly beautiful mission, who offered me a very rare and generous opportunity. His offer would allow me to realize my life's dream of creating a therapeutic animal farm, in my beloved Muskoka, on his magical property where he was in the process of building and realizing his own dream. This incredible place that he has been building is where my herd and I have lived for two years now. The magic of this place is truly indescribable and I truly believe has been paramount to my personal healing. These past 6 years have included some of the most incredible years and experiences of my life, and up until now have I been keeping a great deal of it quiet, while the Woodfield True Nature Family Campus reached completion. This road I have been on to become a part of the Woodfield Village, has become bigger and more exciting than I ever could have first imagined. My farm, Sky River Meadows has been invited to become an official part of the Woodfield True Nature Campus programming and shift will also come an immediate name change of my farm, to the Woodfield Sky River Farm! The joining of Woodfield True Nature Family Campus with Sky River Meadows makes perfect sense to me, and to those involved. Without the inspiration, generosity, kindness, guidance, financial aide and never ending support of Mike and his Woodfield vision, Sky River Meadows would not be what it has now become. I plan to share the entire story of how I came to be here and all that is being created in the coming weeks through my blog, as I continue to share updates of all that is happening here. You will also begin to see the name changes being implemented over the coming days and weeks as we work towards this new alignment. I am so excited about this new direction and partnership as it will allow us to impact, assist and support even more children and their families. When a visionary as creative, talented and capable as Mike Bradley, comes together with me, a dreamer who is able to powerfully manifest her dreams, the sky really is the limit! Stay tuned :)
With love ~ Angee
This morning when I woke, I felt utterly defeated. The trials and challenges of the last week have really kicked my butt and for whatever reason, last night I felt like a hit a wall, and today didn't start out much better. I am emotional, I am feeling overwhelmed and just downright miserable. I'm really not one to ever feel sorry for myself, but today I wanted to join my own pity party. Learning new skills on new equipment is challenging enough, but then when that same equipment breaks rendering the job impossible....
As I was standing there on my porch feeling sorry for myself, a wild tom turkey came out of the field and began strutting around in front of my barn. For those who watch and listen to the messages in nature, the arrival of this turkey was very significant for me. I watched him walk around, so confident with his purpose and place in the world. I absorbed the teachings from the turkey and knew immediately what I needed to adjust in myself to feel stable and grounded again. It was even more of a blessing to walk to my barn about 20 minutes later to find this beautiful gift left behind by that very turkey. This feather will be added to a growing collection of treasured gifts. While I marveled at the message I had already received from turkey this morning, I had an even stranger encounter with a young red squirrel on my deck. Although I am studying shamanism, these kinds of events always take me by surprise. Although it is nothing unusual to see me chatting it up with the animals about all kinds of things, this encounter was really odd. I watched the squirrel walk down my driveway towards me as if I was his destination. It wasn't long until I realized that this squirrel was actually here to see me as there he was sitting across from me on my deck, on one of my chairs as if he had just arrived for an agreed upon meeting. This young squirrel, I think a male, proceeded to give me the biggest scolding from a squirrel I've received to date. It turns out that this little squirrel also had a ton of wisdom to share with me but was far more impatient in sharing his wisdom than the turkey was. I really needed that though little squirrel, thanks for the lecture <3
What an odd way to start out my blog this week no? You must be wondering what could have happened to make me feel so desperately defeated this morning. Perhaps I should back up a bit. I believe last week, I left off running to see a man about a tractor. Well, that's the great way the week started - we actually bought that tractor and it arrived last Tuesday! Sky River Meadows now has on it's team, a very sexy and beastly, Fordson Power Major 5000 tractor with an industrial grade bucket. I have always had a thing for old trucks and tractors, especially when they work! This powerful machine will help us move a lot of manure! Most importantly though, it is powerful enough to help us to get the hay off the fields. One of my biggest stressors since moving to Woodfield, is that each year it has been a struggle to get the hay off. We have over 300 acres in hay, and I have been buying it due to lack of my own equipment to make it. As we've only recently acquired these essential tools, this is why we're just starting to cut. Regardless of how much we manage to put in our barn, the fields all still need to be cut down so they are good next year - hence the rush to get everything operational. With assistance from some wonderful neighbours we managed to get a small bit of hay down so we could test the equipment. Bailey, Fred and I spent a Saturday afternoon/evening pouring over the 24T square baler with an old service manual in hand. I am some blessed at the moment as my man Fred AND my girl Bailey have some MAD skills with equipment!! Bailey managed to figure out the knotters, get them working, and even figured out the complicated thread pattern for the baler twine. We got that old baler up and running, and it was even tying the bales right! I was literally jumping and dancing in the field while we followed that baler through the field as it dropped it's first bales for us. Our victory was very short lived however, as 14 bales in, our new (to us) baler let out the most horrid sound that metal can make, and died. I won't get into the gruesome details, however it now sits in the equipment barn across the road, pulled apart and looking sad. With the square baler out of commission, we had no choice but to see if we could get the round baler working. We were out in the field Saturday night until close to 11pm trying to get it going and had to admit defeat and call it a night. Thankfully Fred is amazingly gifted with machinery. He managed to work out a lot of issues with every piece of equipment we have. This week things will get serious into making hay! Good news is, replacement parts for the broken baler have been found and are being picked up tonight. Apparently Monday's are now also for road trips for essential farming equipment :)
For anyone who has ever farmed with animals, having a barn full of hay is security. It ensures the herd eats for the winter. Our business depends on a happy, healthy herd and of course I want to provide the very best of everything for a herd that works so hard to help so many people feel good. It is likely safe to say that hay season is one of the most important jobs (and least favourite for most) on a farm. The cost savings are huge if you can make your own, but for me I also just always enjoyed the entire process as a kid. With the exception of the "hay bites" as I have always called them, the scratches you get from moving hay bales around. I find cutting grass of any kind to be deeply therapeutic. Raking and baling the hay are all equally satisfying jobs as well. When the barn is full of fresh hay, there is no better smell in the world. To me it smells like survival for another winter, and that is a necessary security. I feel the days getting shorter already, and I hate to say it but the leaves are starting to change as well. The geese are very active during the day and the dew is thick and cold on the grass in the morning. All of these are early signs of an early autumn and I object profusely! We are absolutely not even starting to think towards the fall until the hay is off the fields! We need at least two weeks of good weather and we will be all set. I am loving the learning curve and trying to stay positive. I know next year things will run smoothly and on time. I definitely am looking forward to that!
Over the past several months, the Snowlake Initiative has been running a talent show here called GOAT. This past Tuesday we welcomed Ontario performer and musician, Jen Cook, of Red Jenny and the Boys to come to the farm to try out her skills in front of the Sky River judges, for the filming of Episode 4. I can honestly say that in all my years of hosting people with the goats, I have never before witnessed someone have more fun than Jen did. Watching her preform, hearing her laugh, enjoying the reactions of the goats. Wow, what an experience to witness! There was a few very special bonding moments for Jen with a couple of the herd. This photo captured here of Jen with Julia really sums up what a joyful experience it was for Jen to play for the goats. When this episode is up on YouTube I will of course link it in to a future blog. On a week that has been so stressful and I feel overwhelming pressure, this break was so welcome. It was so easy to be sucked into the fun and enjoyment that Jen experienced while playing for the herd. If you too want to try your talent in front of the Sky River judges, there is still time to apply! For more information, details and questions, please contact the Snow Lake Initiative. Take advantage of the beautiful weather that still remains in this summer and come visit the farm and these very judgmental goats <3 You won't regret it!
With as strange as this entire year has been, it is no wonder that choosing names for the new babies has not been a priority. We have been getting by with calling the boy "little man" and the girl "little lady". Not the kind of names you want sticking for very long. I have tossed quite a few ideas around in my head for the 5 weeks since they were born and each time I have continually come back to the same names consistently. I am now happy and pleased to announce that the 2020 babies have finally been named! Please welcome Sky River Meadows Zeus and Sky River Meadows Hera! These two cuties of course will both be staying on the farm for many months as they learn to work in our therapy programs. Sadly for Zeus, he does seem to have a LOT of testosterone so he will very likely be fixed in the next few weeks in order to hopefully settle him into a quieter lifestyle of cuddling and being loved on. These two little darlings have already tripled in size since they were born on July 10th. If you'd like to meet them and cuddle them while they are still small, be sure to book a visit for you and your circle!
Before I sign off for another week, I want to take a moment to personally acknowledge some important people. First to my team of volunteers at the farm - without you, I think I would have thrown in the towel a couple of months ago. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for not only being here to lend a hand, but for coming this past Saturday for my workshop. It was hard for me to share with you all but I felt loved and supported through it all. I appreciate the insight, and sharing. I look forward to many more workshops and brainstorming sessions! The herd and barn have never looked better, keep up the amazing work! I wanted to also thank my wonderful neighbours from down the road. Lloyd, Howard and Ray Quinton have all offered help and support in recent days and I know they are rooting for us to get this farm into tip top shape again, like it was when the Quinton family used to care for this land years ago. There are no better minds and hands to teach me than those who've lived in this valley their entire lives. I look forward to bringing it back to it's former glory and making it better than ever before. Lastly, but certainly not least, to my Fred. I can't express how much you mean to me already in such a short time together. These last few weeks have been so full of great experiences, it makes me excited for the future and what other mischief we can get up to. Watching you become Farmer Fred is the greatest gift of all <3 Thank you for all you do, and most of all for loving me <3
When I was younger, and admittedly even up until recently, I truly believed that we were supposed to love others, but not ourselves. Let me tell you how wrong I was. I now know that if you don't love yourself you aren't able to love another. It starts with ourselves. We are all raised by the people who are in our environment as children. Our minds are shaped by our experiences, good or bad, just as the lessons we are taught by those around us. Children learn from everyone and everything, starting from their parents and siblings, down to neighbours and friendly faces in the community. We are all surrounded by others who have also been shaped by their own experiences and influences. What if some of the things being taught and passed down are based off of incorrect perception, assumptions etc? So what happens if thought patterns and behaviours had been shared and taught through multiple generations? It seems to me that you get a lot of confused individuals, impacting each other with their thoughts, emotions and energy, and not necessarily in constructive or supportive ways. This is why SELF LOVE needs to be the first step in finding your true self. By protecting and nurturing ourselves first, we can do a much better job of supporting and nurturing those we love. I don't know at what point in my life I stopped loving myself, but I do know when I learned that I didn't. For me it was meeting a FEEL horse named Northern Lady during a private session at Horse Spirit Connections. That incredible mare, who I am sad to say recently passed away, looked me dead in the eye that day and spoke directly into my heart. She asked me, "Why don't you love yourself?" Honestly until that point I didn't realize that I didn't, nor did I realize that I should. That was when I enrolled in the FEEL Certification program and began a journey home to myself. Every single day since my program started in April 2018, this has been my journey. The struggle is real and most days I think I still lose the battle and don't put myself first, but I am getting better at this each and every day. I made a very serious commitment to myself after ending my last long term relationship and that was to always love myself first. I even got a tattoo this past December on my ring finger, in small letters "ME", as a constant reminder to never forget that self loves comes before all else.
So I turned 44 this past weekend. Not sure if that's a milestone, but for me it is the year I really began to love and honour myself. Covid has taken so much away from all of us. I try instead to focus on the good that is coming from it in my life. For me, this time has helped me to really connect with myself. Without those weeks in isolation I may not have really committed to learning to love myself every day. For me that is remembering to eat - something I am very bad at - but eating healthy when I do. Also, taking time for the things I truly enjoy, that fill my heart. I had to make a list because I had actually forgotten what I used to do to make me feel happy. I also ensure I exercise everyday, my active lifestyle ensures I don't have to work hard at that. Taking time to care for and nurture my body, mind and soul through meditation, music and ceremony is also essential for me. This past weekend I did something that I wasn't sure I would be capable of doing - I went away for the weekend and left others in charge at the farm. This is an absolute must for self love - taking time for yourself - something I don't do, and so I made myself do it! Volunteers were here to ensure guests were looked after and that weekend Goat Yoga with Caprine Vibes was a success. I went camping and my phone was incapable of getting even a weak signal. I stressed - I don't think I will ever NOT stress while away from home, but I managed to have an amazing weekend. I started seeing someone new a couple of months ago and this past weekend we escaped together to a remote property his family has on the Vermillion River north of Sudbury, ON. This was exactly the kind of break I needed to recharge from the endless weeks of 18 hour days. There was no sound but the animals in the forest around us. I was able to spend hours on the river kayaking, which is one of my happy places. This river is so much fun to explore! The pace it flows at ensure you don't even have to paddle, but can just float and meditate. Thank you Fred for sharing such an amazing place with me that is dear to your heart, and for an amazing birthday weekend! <3 I can't wait to go back again.
This past week on the farm has been exciting, as per usual, with loads going on. One of the highlights for me was witnessing my friend Amanda stand in her power and lead her first Goat Yoga classes. The energy and vibe of her class, combined with her soothing voice and great music choices seemed to bring something very unique to her class offering. On Saturday she ran her second class and from what I here it was also a great success! I look forward to these ongoing classes and hope to be able to catch a class myself sometime soon. Currently Amanda is offering classes each Wednesday evening at 7pm and on select weekend mornings. You can find all of the information on her classes and how to register on her Caprine Vibes website.
In last week's blog, I mentioned that we were fortunate enough to have been given the use of some farm machinery to get our hay in. Well, unfortunately the tractor is in much need of servicing so is now in the shop and may not actually make it back in time to use for cutting the hay. So, the search continues for a tractor and tonight I am on the road to Newmarket in the hopes that I will find what we need and at a good price. This year has been challenging enough, and bringing in the winter's hay is essential for any farmer's peace of mind. Knowing there is a barn loft full of hay to keep everyone fed through winter is one of the best feelings in the world. Right now, the alternative would be to purchase our hay for the winter again and honestly this is not a good option when we have 320 acres of hay to be cut. Hey, if anyone reading this knows of a tractor for sale for a good price let me know! :)
The past several weeks here have seen a huge amount of change and transformation to the look of the website and also the structure of operations here. This is all due to the amazing gift, talent and advice being given to me by J'aime Payne of Breeze Business Management. Adding J'aime to my team has allowed me to create a new business model that will allow us to sustain during these challenging times, but also to allow us to reach more people and in the most impactful ways. I think I am most grateful for the passion and heart that J'aime possesses which really partners well with my own. Creating my vision with her guidance, has even rejuvenated my own inspiration for why I wanted to build this special place. I could sing J'aime praises ALL DAY LONG! Not only does she handle the things that stress me out, but she does it with actual JOY and EASE. She has literally shown me that it is possible to run a farm, a business and still have a life. Oh, and did I happen to mention she is VERY affordable!!! I assure you, if you have a business that is in need of some spark and energy, please consider checking out Breeze Business Management. It has been the best business decision I have made to date. Call her, you won't be disappointed!
Well, for another week I need to sign off. I am off to see a man about a tractor. Send good luck and energy my way! I need a quick and easy solution to this tractor problem so we can get to the serious business of getting this hay off the fields. Hopefully by this time next week I will check back in with good news and pictures of another sexy tractor :)
with love, ~ Angee
How can it be August already? I have difficulty some days when I realize how much time has passed and how much longer it will take before some semblance of normal returns to life. I am one of those who absolutely refuses to accept this "new normal" as an acceptable way to live. Perhaps it is that I work in the mental health field so I am seeing the direct effect on families and especially children. This new normal is not a healthy choice. It actually ensures that we connect even less with each other, which I feel, will in the end just continue to exacerbate the issues we are all already facing. I think that is why I am more motivated and focused than I ever have been before. I know that my herd can help a lot of people, so now I am working hard to reorganize my business so that it can be much bigger than just me. I can only personally see so many people in a day, so my team is expanding. This will allow programs to run concurrently and I can have more time to focus on creating my specialized FEEL programs. It is kind of ironic that I spent all this time and money to be able to bring the FEEL Approach to my Muskoka community, but I actually am unable to offer this service because I'm too busy with the farm chores. That is all changing and as each week passes will only get better. My new "boss lady" as I am calling her, is a Godsend I swear, and I am so proud of what we are creating together. If you haven't looked yet, you should check out the new website and see the direction my business is now taking in order to stay alive in this crazy covid world. With the new look also comes a new pricing model. This was a very difficult decision to make, but as the herd is quite expensive to maintain there had to be an adjustment. Although you will now pay more money for 1 on 1 time with the herd, if you come with your social circle, or "bubble" you can actually save money now. Of course also due to the changes and my decision to keep all groups private, my goat walks also have to evolve. When the walks resume it will be at a new price as it will be my first FEEL Program and will include some fundamentals of the FEEL Approach. Participants will get way more bang for their buck, as they will also take away some powerful teachings that can really help cope with this stressful new reality. I am really looking forward to expanding on the experience of anyone who has come prior, and to introducing this new program to first time visitors. I hope to launch this new program by mid month so stay posted for more info if you're interested.
I am sure that many of you are anxious for news about our darling baby girl who was sick is doing. I am happy to report that she has made a full recovery, but will continue to be monitored closely, as her system is already weakened, she is much more susceptible to other illness. I am so grateful to have volunteers here now to help me. I am rarely alone to deal with stuff now, which at first was a hard adjustment for me, but I am learning that letting go of some responsibility will allow me more time for myself. The herd has never been so well tended with so many hands on board to help. We are so lucky to have the volunteers we have. This little lady, along with her brother still remain without names. I have this tendency to wait until all babies for the year are born before I make a solid decision. I am still a little undecided on my exact theme yet anyways. With only one more doe due (and likely not pregnant), no one will have to wait much longer. Honestly the fact that there are less babies to name, actually make this choice tougher for me. If these two little ones grow up to be therapy goats then their name will be important. Perhaps by next week I'll figure it out ;)
I have been sitting on a big secret for many weeks now while my dear friend Amanda worked to create something brand new. If you remember a few weeks back, I sent out an energetic seed of inspiration in the hopes that it would create some magic. Not only did magic happen, and in a few beautiful ways, but also in one incredible and exciting way. I have the amazing honour and pleasure to introduce you all to Caprine Vibes. This incredible new partnership brings Amanda Kindrat, facilitator and Intuitive Reiki Master together with the Sky River Meadows goats to bring Goat Yoga and Goat Assisted Reiki to the Muskoka community. I have first hand experienced the healing in this powerful partnership and know that Caprine Vibes will bring a lot of great energy and healing to the community. This coming Wednesday August the 5th, Amanda will run her first Goat Yoga class, and I hear it is already sold out! Upcoming classes and information can be found on the Caprine Vibes site, or Facebook page.
Although I have only known Amanda for about a year now, in that short time she and her beautiful family have had a profound impact in my life. Her family has also become close with a few of my family due to an amazing weekend experience they all shared last fall, here on the Woodfield True Nature Campus. I think that weekend bonded everyone who shared it for life, not just my close circle. This connection with my family and now also with my herd has me deeply curious about where else this relationship and connection can go. I find myself drawn to Amanda. There is something about her energy that just exudes kindness, and love on a "felt" level. As with so much in my world in the last two years since beginning the FEEL programs, there are some things you can't ever put into words. I know Amanda feels some deep unexplained connection here as well, so I am just grateful that she is just as willing as me to blindly jump into this new partnership in order to explore where it will take us. Perhaps what the world needs now more than ever before is animal assisted therapy programs like the ones we are running here. There is no doubt that goats bring a lot of life and playfulness to every learning activity at the farm, and I think that in some ways makes them more effective and approachable. Either way, I am thrilled to see where this partnership will go.
Also, seriously? My herd can put Goat Assisted Reiki on their resumes. I love that!
I had been excitedly waiting since the filming of episode 3 of GOAT: Talent Search for it to be released. It finally is available and it so much fun to watch! The cuteness overload is almost too much. 3 young human siblings with 3 young goat siblings + 1 amazingly patience and talented mother = great viewing! To me this video is raw motherhood. Beautiful, gifted and blessed with three of the most gorgeous children, it was an absolute pleasure to host Leah Zantingh and her children. They managed to capture enough GOAT points to take the lead! Here is the episode below. Who will be next?
Our herd numbers recently expanded a few weeks back with the addition of 6 goats from a family I have supported with their herd management. These 6 after a few weeks of ups and downs and shifts within the herd are finally settling into the routines around here. When it comes to being social, these 6 are often involved in daily Cuddle Puddles with visitors. I think they are all well adjusted to the amount of grooming that is available if they socialize. They are still being taught the rules and have a lot to learn about manners still, but so far there haven't been many issues. They are still unwilling to follow the herd on a walk, so for the time being they have to be put in while the rest of us go out. In time I really hope they learn to follow, as I find when given the chance to browse, goats are really good at regulating their own nutritional needs. Besides, the regular exercise does everyone good! Chances are if you've been to the farm since we've reopened, you've met and mingled with Daisy, Cocoa, Julia, Vanilla, Stella and Simon. If not, you should consider booking a visit with your bubble to come meet them! :)
Sky River Meadows was very recently gifted the addition of some new (to us) farm machinery! This generous offer comes from the same source as most of our blessings, Mike Bradley, the owner and founder of the Woodfield True Nature Campus where the farm is situated, and where we have called home for the past two years. Through the continued generosity, support and belief in my programs, Mike continues to push and inspire me every single day, and has since I met him. I have now been given a huge responsibility of overseeing not just the 40 acre farm that I lease here, but also of the other 280+ acres of farmland which will soon come to be known as the Woodfield Sky River Farm, a collaborative partnership between our two companies. Covid has done some major damage to a lot of businesses, dreams and overall lives. I love that many are coming together, being willing to adapt, push new boundaries, and find better ways to work together. With the use of this heavy equipment, my life of running this farm just began 50X easier. We now have at our disposal a Boomer 8N tractor (an automatic which is odd, but I will learn) haybine, rake, round baler, hoe, bucket, hay fork, snow blower, post hole digger, post pounder and a few other attachments I haven't figured out yet. Mike also helped us purchase a small square baler which I found for a steal of a deal from a local family. Being able to make small squares will also save a lot of hours of heavy lifting for everyone who helps here. Now to get everything serviced and operational so I can start cutting these fields! It's been a long time since I've made my own hay and I am actually surprised to say I am looking forward to doing this job again. If you've ever worked bringing in hay, you'll know anyone who enjoys it is crazy. If you have the capability of sending us good vibes, luck and anything else that helps get machinery up and running quickly, please send it our way! If by chance someone reading this knows something about Boomer tractors, and particularly the rear hydraulic system. Or if you happen to have a manual for one we could reference, give me a shout! For now I am going to leave this weeks update here. This week will be the first week testing the new reservation system and I am so hopeful that this makes all the difference not only for me, but for everyone who wants to come to the farm. Until next week friends, please be kind. With love ~ Angee
I'm just going to start by saying that the 2020 roller coaster is still alive and well here. This month has had some pretty big highs and lows, and I find myself a little off balance at times from it. Of course inevitably life must move on, and with farming this is especially true. For me, the endless cycle and rhythm to the routine on a farm keep me grounded, steady and always moving forward. Chasing the sun each day, while tending to my herd, has a very comfortable rhythm to it. From that first moment each morning when I enter my barn, I know that my day will be filled with purpose. It always starts and ends the same - feed, water and tend the herd. In the space in between, we host a variety of people here these days. Each group brings new energy and dynamic to the herd, and my team and I stay focused on tending the herds needs throughout the day, so that they can make our guests happy. Although there are "to-do lists" here, the priority is the same day in and day out - the herd comes first. What they need, we provide. This past week has brought it's fair share of the usual challenges, but then on top of it we said good bye to our herd Queen Bonnie who was laid to rest. I choose to love a farming lifestyle because it allows me to be deeply connected to the rhythms of the planet every single day. I get lost in the changing of the seasons, enjoying each day for the gift that it is. I even enjoy the challenges the weather can bring to my day, because I know that hidden within any challenge in life is an amazing opportunity to learn and grow. We are daily surrounded by lessons if we are only willing to see them, seek them out even? Nothing bring me more immediate pleasure than a perfect moment of pure joy that you can find during your normal routine day. I want to share an example of what I mean as I recently was able to experience one of those perfect moments in time with my Aunt Thelma when she recently visited me. It was 6am and I went out onto my porch to greet the day as I do each morning and there in front of my face was the most beautiful rainbow I had ever seen. in the glow of the rising sun, this dawnlit rainbow will be forever etched in my memories. No photograph would ever be able to capture just how beautiful and perfect that moment was. These cycles in nature that we see through the changing seasons, and even with the daily dance of life and death, keep me deeply humble. Farm life is not always easy, and somedays it feels downright impossible, but it will always keep you grounded, and remind you of what really matters.
Although I am still mourning the loss of Bonnie this past week, the herd has already moved onwards and the inevitable battle to figure out who the new herd queen will be has begun. There are quite a few bloodied heads out there today. I only hope they figure it out quickly, but this is a big herd so it may take awhile. With the loss of the herd leader, a new one must be established. It will most often end with a matriarch, but on occasion a wether (fixed male) can also take over. I have no doubt that in the case of my herd, it will be a doe who wins. My ladies are TOUGH! My (19) wethers are content to sit back and watch the ladies duke it out for the most part, with only the occasional interest taken in joining in. At my last check, there were 9 does involved in the latest royal rumble. With goats there is not much you can do but to let them sort it out. Separating the combatants doesn't work as they'll just wait until they see each other again and pick right back up where they left off. As the herd shifts around establishing the new order here, it does offer some interesting entertainment and conversations for our guests. I truly do enjoy these pure moments of learning when I have an opportunity to closely observe and study the herd dynamic as they sort out their new hierarchy. Not all of the herd is interested in fighting for a place near the top though. Some prefer to find a quiet place to watch the show from. I hilariously captured CC and Carmela hiding together while watching one such fight. These photos speak for themselves and the caption possibilities are endless. They reminded me of those two old guys off The Muppet Show. You know, Statler and Waldorf? Check these out lol.
Further to the challenges of farm life and how you can never let your guard down, our newest little doeling born two weeks ago from SRM My Precious, went down yesterday with Floppy Kid Syndrome. This is something that hits young kids often between the ages of 3-21 days. It can be caused by a multitude of things, but if caught early, treatment is generally effective. It was very touch and go for awhile there over the last 24 hours with her. Her complete recovery will take several days, but at the moment I feel good about her progress and returning strength and will continue to do everything in my power to keep her here with us.
It has been a couple of years since I have had active volunteers on the farm helping me with the day to day. Due to this, it has been awhile since I have shared these experiences with others and I have really enjoyed watching the wonder, emotion and joy on the faces around me, especially during the highs - like birthing. That being said, I was rather unprepared for what sharing and witnessing the hard side of farming such as the death of Bonnie, or currently helping to nurse this doeling, and seeing that toll on those same faces, is a much harder thing for me to process. Covid has really taken it's toll on all of us, and emotions are raw and already running close to the surface. Witnessing a baby goat's health rapidly fail is intensely emotional. Some of my volunteers are really young and farming can be really tough at any age. If you have never seen Floppy Kid Syndrome in action, basically you have a healthy bouncing baby goat one minute, and the next they are laying flat out basically lifeless. For those who've never witnessed this before it can be VERY alarming. I've seen it many times over the years so it helps me to remain calm. I have to stay focused on what needs to be done in order to save a life, and my emotions can hamper my ability to think clearly. One thing I've learned for sure is that even if you do everything right, you don't always have the ability to save them all. I once spent 8 days around the clock fighting to save a baby goat to have him fail anyways. Now I firmly put my faith in God to know what is right, and until then just do my absolute best. <3
I am pleased to report that while writing this, the little doeling is now nursing again on her own and already back with the herd under my teams watchful eye. She is feisty and fiery and has what it takes to make a full recovery quickly. My "spidey" senses were bang on yesterday when I first felt like she wasn't right. I started treatment just a couple hours before her symptoms really become apparent, and by then she was already on her way to recovery. Hopefully due to this she will not suffer any prolonged side effects, but only time will tell. Please send her your love and support! <3
Sky River Meadows once again was playing host to GOAT: Talent Search this past weekend for the filming of Episode 3 which should be aired in the coming days. This third installment of this fun competition featured local Huntsville Artist Leah Zantingh and her beautiful young children. You can check out Leah and all of her amazing work at http://www.leahzantingh.com/
Team Rain, Timber, Breeze and Leah spent some time here on Saturday to record their submission and it was truly a delight and an inspiration to watch it all come together. I don't want to give anything away, but for me it was really incredible getting to witness this episode. Here is a young mother with three small children, competing in a competition WITH her children to make it work. It was so inspiring watching as Leah was able to tend to her three childrens needs, protect, as well as fend off the goats, AND still complete her "act", seemingly effortlessly juggling all three simultaneously. And when the kids snacks came in the pen!! Hysterical!! I can't wait to see this episode when it airs and to see how Leah and her family scored against their competition. There is still time to sign up to be on GOAT: Talent Search. For information and to book your spot in this competition, go to https://www.thesnowlakeinitiative.ca/ I will of course share the episode as soon as it airs and will also link it into a future blog post as well. If you haven't watched Episode 1 or 2 yet, go check them out and see the Sky River Meadows "Judges" in action. Think you've goat what it takes to impress this herd of judgmental goats? Well what are you waiting for? Apply now!
Muskoka Hot Yoga's Goat Yoga classes are on a short break while Trinity is away, but will resume on August 18th. The herd and I will miss Trinity but eagerly look forward to her return. Over the past several weeks of running these classes together, the yoga goats are really getting into their groove. The participants of the most recent class were also able to enjoy the added presence of the new 2020 kids who joined the class, and added an seriously adorable element to an already pretty amazing class.. When Trinity's classes resume, these kids will grown in size some, but they will also have much more energy and be more than willing to climb all over everyone holding their yoga poses. To see Muskoka Hot Yoga's August schedule and to sign up for available Goat Yoga classes, please visit her website at https://muskokahotyoga.com/
Never enough Goat Yoga? Don't fear Goat Yoga lovers! There will be another exciting announcement made about a brand new Muskoka business opening soon with exciting new offerings, and I can't wait to announce this collaboration. Expect that announcement in the coming days!
Until then my friends, be kind to one another. When we choose love, everyone wins! ~ Angee
It is with a very sad, and heavy heart that I share the news of the passing of our beloved herd Queen, Imperial K Bonnie. This beautiful horned Queen of mine was the Matriarch of my herd since she came to my farm in 2009. The very first Nigerian Dwarf to join my breeding program, Bonnie and I go back to the very beginning days of my vision to create this farm. Bonnie was not a lover by any means, and much preferred to spend her time giving people the "stink eye" from a distance. More times than not I would hear visitors remark on how it felt like Bonnie would look right through them like they weren't even there. That really sums up the persona that Bonnie was. Enigmatic, elusive, wild and always free, Bonnie was the one that I could never tame. That is because she was never meant to be tamed. She will always remain as free and wild as the heart that beats in me. She inspired me often to never give up or back down, even when the odds were huge against me. I will be forever grateful to the wonderful teacher she has been to me in teaching me on how to lead the herd in a respectful way. The patience Bonnie had for me, to allow me to learn through making mistakes in training the herd, allowed my programs to get to where they are now. It may seem strange for some to read these words, however when you raise animals with autonomy, you really do get to know them on an individual "being" level. The stories I share come from my heart, as I know each of my animals very deeply and personally, and have grown with them all over many years. In the very beginning, my program started with two Nigerians: Bonnie, and the also recently deceased, Imperial K Gigalo. Every dream starts somewhere, and mine started with those two goats. From their first breeding at my farm, came the first generation of Sky River Meadows therapy goats, their daughter SRM Cassiopeia. Fast forward down the generational line to the babies that were recently born on July 13th, 2020, and those two beautiful babies are actually Bonnie and Gigalo's 6x's great grandchildren. The blue eyes these new babies have are the same eyes that Bonnie has consistently passed down through each generation. I have other blue eyed goats in my herd as well, but these stark deep blue eyes are all Bonnie's. Like a perfect blue sky day.
I will deeply miss Bonnie and how she has kept me on my toes every single day since she came into my life. The lessons she has taught me about respecting the herd, trusting my intuition, and always listening to my heart, have helped to shape me into the woman I am today. Of all my herd, Bonnie has been my greatest teacher. My life will not be the same without her here, and I hope that her spirit remains to watch over the herd she helped me create. She was laid to rest on the west corner of the farm, facing east towards the rising sun, under a big spruce tree beside her great granddaughter SRM Aphrodite.
Bonnie was the very first Goat of the Week that I wrote and I have linked it below for anyone who is interested. There is a gallery of photos there as well that truly capture the spirit of this beautiful soul. Rest in peaceful green pastures Bonnie <3